Common Air Duct Problems That Impact Your Home Comfort
In many regards, HVAC systems have become indispensable appliances on the home comfort front. Conditioning air to meet your needs concerning temperature and humidity levels is something that many homeowners have come to love, enjoy, and expect. However, with the advancement of air conditioning system technology, we are now relying on HVAC to make our houses clean and healthy by dealing with indoor air pollution. This further increases the value of these systems in our homes.
However, these benefits are only experienced when the entire system is functioning efficiently. This is something we appreciate as an experienced team residential AC service provider and homeowners as well. As such, we will explore some of the problems that the typical air ducts face, keeping in mind that this part of the system is a considerable source of system inefficiencies. Importantly, we will also delve into what to expect if you do not rectify the air duct problems when they arise.
A Poorly Designed System
The National Comfort Institute suggests that on average, the ductwork system in the U.S. is only about 57% efficient. The efficiencies in the system tend to come from various avenues, albeit inherent poor design is the major source of inefficiencies. At this point, you should note that there is no one-size-fits-all duct system in existence. Every house will have a unique layout and differ from other properties regarding space. This means that every house should have a ductwork system designed that is well-designed for its own needs and peculiarities.
Anything short of a stellar design will lead to poor airflow in the system, thereby causing ductwork inefficiencies. This, in turn, causes energy losses (which is just loss of money). Additionally, since it cannot perform its function as it should, homeowners end up with a poorly air-conditioned home, which should not be the case. In the long run, the monetary loses and the less than stellar air conditioning means that you do not enjoy a comfortable house and you suffer financially trying to keep your home comfortable.
Dirt is an enemy to any HVAC efficiency. While air filters help to mitigate the extent of dirt build up in the form of dust, dead bugs, cobwebs, pollen, and much more from occurring, there are chances of dirt getting into and accumulating in the duct system. This accumulation affects the air flow in the duct and negatively impacts the cooling and heating units. Importantly though, accumulation of dirt in the system results in the supply of polluted air. The EPA reckons that on average, indoor air in American houses is about 100 times more polluted than outdoor air. This is a grime statistic, and as long as you do not invest in cleaning your HVAC’s ductwork, you put your health at risk.
Improper alignment, duct detachments, and poorly sealed ducts can cause unwanted air leaks. This affects the overall airflow in the ductwork, affecting the efficiencies in the system. Unfortunately, this is far too common in our houses. On average, an HVAC system will lose anything from 15% to 40% of the air circulating in the system through air leaks in the ducts.
A consequence of this is that your system will have to work harder to achieve the set goals, thereby affecting the life of the system. Also, losing some of the conditioned air and having to suck in more air than necessary leads to energy loses.
Structurally Unsound Air Ducts Resulting In Restricted Air Flow
An HVAC system can only work efficiently when the airflow in the ductwork is unhampered and consistent. When the ductwork suffers from twists, crushes, kinks, or tears (especially in the case of plastic ducts), the airflow becomes restricted. As such, most HVAC systems will overwork to pull and supply more air, resulting in energy waste (with the associated higher energy bills and an increased environmental footprint), a shortened life for the HVAC system, and frequent breakdowns and failures.
Poorly Sealed Grill And Registers
As you might appreciate, having your windows open while your air conditioning system is running is never a good idea. For starters, you lose the conditioned air, which when you think more in-depth about it, means you are loosing the air that you have paid to cool. Additionally, because you are losing air and you still want a comfortable house, intuitively, you will have to crank up the system to meet your demands, therefore, overworking the system.
Now, I know you might be thinking “I would never leave my windows open while overworking my HVAC system.” This is true, for the most part as very few people would consider doing this. However, when you have poorly ductwork sealed drills and registers, the result will be the same. You end up losing conditioned air even before it has entered the rooms to create the comfort for which you are paying.
In effect, you end up losing money as the lost conditioned air does not do what it was supposed to in the first place. Aside from losing money, you overwork your HVAC system, making the entire system or some of its parts susceptible to breakdowns and repairs.
Poorly Insulated Air Ducts Or Air Ducts Not Insulated
While air leaks are the number one source of loss of conditioned and controlled air, there are other methods of losses such heat exchange along the ductwork. When the ducts are not insulated or well insulated, they result in loss of heat during the winter months and gain of heat during the summer months. These inefficiencies result in similar consequences as the air leaks in the ductwork.
These are a few of the frequent problems that typical HVCA system suffer from and identifying them is very important. As such, you should look out for weird sounds emanating from the ductwork and any unexplained increase in energy bills. However, when it comes to troubleshooting, you should contract HVAC professionals like us who are experienced in identifying system problems.